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3-D printing and the art of ‘Paranorman’

While brushing his teeth, Norman pretends that he is a zombie in “Paranorman,” directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler, the new comedy thriller from LAIKA and Focus Features. (LAIKAInc.)

But one animation house, Laika, is taking a different approach, pairing the old and the new to create feature-length, stop-motion animation films. Recently, the Laika-produced film, “Coraline,” received an Academy Award nomination in 2010 for Best Animated Feature Film, and the studio has an upcoming film, “Paranmorman,” set to premier Aug. 17 in 3-D.

But 3-D filming is not the only 3-D aspect of the film. According to a Monday piece in Wired, the filmmakers also employed 3-D color printer to create the character’s thousands of expressions. Wired’s Caitlin Roper writes:

Thanks to interchangeable 3-D-printed facial components, Norman is capable of 1.5 million expressions. For the 27 characters with 3-D-printed faces, the rapid-prototyping department output 31,000 parts, which they stored and cataloged in a face library. 

Laika is in Portland, Ore., and is owned by Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike Inc.

Read more about the technology of Paranorman on Wired.

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